by Matthew Wilson

The sign said “keep off the grass”.

But Richard disliked rules. His dad was a cop, so at home he had to stick to the book. Always clean his room. No friends over unless he could do his chores. He couldn’t swear or play skateboard in the streets like the other kids.

Dad had a reputation to uphold. If he couldn’t keep his son in check, then how could he be deserve respect down the station when his job was all about control!

But now dad was not here and Richard wanted his football back. He’d been in goal and failed to save the penalty between the goal posts made of jumpers. Kids taunted him at the best of times, but now his blood was boiling.

They looked down on him, sure he was a grass. Telling daddy all their naughty tricks for brownie points. They didn’t tell him about girls or how to steal candy from nearby vending machines. They didn’t tell him the secrets of the park. Or the untrodden bit of grass beside it.

He would show them he was as cool as them. Them that just because he was a cops son, did not make him a snitch. A grass. He could be cool. He wished he had a can of spray paint to write crass words on the sign.

Singing, he walked forward, confident. His friends stopped being mean immediately. They jumped up and down waving their hands in excitement. They seemed scared and called at him to come back.

Richard felt power surge through him. At last he had done something these fools had not. He stepped on the grass.

He could not wait to see dads face-

He stopped thinking when he realised he was shrinking. Did the grass cover a sink hole?

Panic was still-born in him as he looked down and realised the grass was alive. Each green blade seemed a tooth and took him down. Richard reached for sunlight like he had the power to grasp it and use it as a gold line to pull himself out.

He screamed for a while, till he was just a head, but finally his friends looked away, sick.

“That was a naughty boy.” Said an old woman, feeding pigeons from a bench. “Breaking the rules like that. You boys will abide the law, won’t ya?”

The boys nodded, needing to take their minds off the ghastly grass some feet away. Another game of football was agreed, but first they would have to find a new goal keeper.

They each put a fist in and played eeny-meeny, trying to ignore the grass, swaying in the wind like an invitation. A dare to prove themselves brave, like all fools. But determinedly the boys concentrated on their game.

And the grass, still hungry, watched.

The End